In November 2019, Sister Regula wrote this article for the
‘Letter to St Andrew’s friends’.
‘…for a flourishing Earth Community…’
In London, with all its many magnificent parks, commons, heaths, gardens, ecological projects we could be blinded into doubting the reality of a climate crisis. However, although less visible, air, water and soil are getting more polluted every day, affecting every single creature, and a ‘Climate Emergency’ has been declared in the UK last April. Individually and as a community we are called and challenged to let our hearts, minds, bodies and deep seated habits be changed for the healing and wellbeing of the world.
Our response, personally and as a community, is very much ‘work in progress’. Slowly and surely the urgency sinks in and everyday actions begin to be shaped by this awareness: water recycling in house and garden, being more careful in the use of precious, finite resources, such as water, gas, electricity, kobalt, paper, encouraging local wildlife in the garden and avoiding the use of chemicals, putting in place gas and electricity contracts with companies that provide renewable, green energy, using public transport where at all possible, shopping with a deeper concern for the environment be this in supporting Fairtrade, avoiding the use of single use plastics containers of any kind , reducing ‘food-miles’.
We also have at heart to include and encourage the concern and commitment to ‘Care for our Common Home’ in our ministries and in our programme: in Spiritual Accompaniment, Counselling, facilitation of Quiet Days or Workshops, in our work with young people, with homeless people… Some of us have started learning more about Eco-Therapy and Eco-Spirituality/Theology, and integrating it our work.
It is not enough for us to do this on our own and it is important to join in with existing groups and networks working for climate justice in our area, in the Church, and in society. These include supporting actions initiated by CAFOD (‘Caritas in the UK’) and many other Charities, like the lobbying of our MP’s outside parliament on ‘Climate Justice’ issues in June this year. ‘Extinction Rebellion’, is another movement of Non Violent Direct Action some of us get inspiration from and support actively when possible and appropriate. Two of us joined in the ‘Extinction Grief Procession’ on Oxford Street on 12 October, which brought together all generations, and was an expression of amazing creativity in the service of the Care of our Common Home. At this year’s meeting of the Conference of Religious (COR) in May in Swanwick, the insistent call of Pope Francis to an Ecological Conversion, to the Care of our Common Home, was put on the top of the agenda. Not surprising therefore that many religious around the country support initiatives and actions by CAFOD, Extinction Rebellion and many other groups.
All us welcomed Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ with open arms and a sense of relief, as this finally put The Care for Our Common Home explicitly at the heart our faith and commitment as disciples of Christ. It is a treasure we continue to discover, explore, receive and put in practice as best we can.
Thomas Berry and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin have been for me a great source of inspiration over the last few years: the latter in helping me to learn to see the great mystery of God’s life and love manifest in all of creation; the former in helping me deepen a sense of belonging not only to the Human Family, but to the whole of the ‘Earth Community’, an expression dear to him.
Yes, ‘May we be changed for the healing and the wellbeing of our Earth Community’.
Sister Regula, on behalf of the Community in Lewisham